Advertising. Macy's Tries the Star-Studded Approach to Pump Sales. Second City Style Fashion Blog


Did you notice the seemingly very long celebrity studded ad Macy’s ran during the Emmy’s Sunday night? Donald Trump is blow-drying his famous hair, Martha Stewart can’t get her pots and pans perfect enough for the store to open and ditzy Jessica Simpson doesn’t know whether to push or pull a Macy’s door in a series of celebrity television ads Macy’s hopes will revive sales at its 850 department stores. According to USA Today, the new campaign has been reported to cost $100 million.

The effort has previously fallen flat in Chicago, but the goal is to woo shoppers to mall-based department stores, particularly the 400 stores once owned by May Department Stores. It hinges on the appeal of products and brands backed by celebrities such as Trump, Simpson, Diddy, Usher and Martha Stewart. Macy’s is banking on prior performance on celebrities’ brands which has paid off in the past.


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The blitz also comes at a critical time for Cincinnati-based Macy’s (which also owns Bloomingdale’s). It took a calculated risk in 2005 when it bought those May nameplates — venerable names such as Marshall Field’s, Kaufmann’s and Filene’s — and replaced them with the Macy’s brand a year later.

Macy’s executives wanted to build a national retail brand but in the markets that lost the local store names, like Chicago, shoppers responded with fewer visits. Sales at hundreds of stores went flat. This campaign is aimed at bringing back those shoppers.

The strategy has skeptics. "I don’t think you can change perception of a brand that’s been around as long as Macy’s by bringing in celebrities," says Al Ries, chairman of Atlanta marketing strategy firm Ries & Ries. "Look what Buick tried to do with Tiger Woods. Nobody believed that Tiger Woods drives a Buick. And nobody believes that Hollywood celebrities shop at Macy’s," he says.

No truer words were ever spoken.

Source: USA Today

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